A Resource Platform for Development Practitioners and Policy Makers

Both human rights and social protection have emerged as key elements in discussions on poverty reduction and the post-2015 development agenda. Major UN processes and documents, such as the United Nations global consultation held in 2013 that collected the views of over one million people and the outcome document of the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit titled Keeping the Promise, position human rights at the core of a new global development agenda while also highlighting the important role of social protection for poverty reduction. In parallel, the 2012 ILO Recommendation 202 has received strong global political support. This calls for universal protection through nationally defined social protection floors as a fundamental element of comprehensive and adequate social security systems that are based on a set of human rights standards. Development actors and human rights advocates generally affirm that there are synergies between the two agendas. However, there is a lack of systematic discussion on the human rights implications and outcomes of social protection programmes.

This gap exists on national, regional and global levels and is problematic considering that both UN member states and UN entities have committed to the human rights-based approach. Most countries have taken on an extensive array of legal obligations in a multitude of human rights treaties; and all UN agencies, funds and programmes have committed to mainstreaming human rights in their work (see, for example the UN Statement of Common Understanding on Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development Cooperation and Programming, adopted by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) in 2003 and the 2013 “Rights up front” initiative, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon).

This platform is designed to provide expert legal and development resources on how to better align social protection and human rights. It is targeted at policy makers, development practitioners and human rights advocates with the intention of strengthening a growing social protection community that cuts across disciplines.